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    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
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    If there’s one book that I believe everyone should read once in their life, it’s my favorite book – Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. From my course, Queer Literature under Dr. Bill Albertini, I discovered Emezi’s Freshwater (2018). Once more, my course, Creative Writing Thesis Workshop under Professor Amorak Huey, was instructed to present our favorite […]

Haunted BG

“I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.”

So I told myself as my headlights first pierced the herbaceous border of Holcomb Woods, an alleged hotspot of haunted activity just east of Bowling Green, and the place I was going to stay the night.

As All Hallows’ Eve approaches, many annually attempt to capitalize on the human fascination with the supernaturally spooky. Haunted houses, hair-raising hayrides and a ghastly amount of other attractions pop up seasonally all over the country. But while unseen hired hooligans may startle the average haunted house enthusiast, it’s common knowledge that these locales aren’t authentically haunted.

But what about places purportedly plagued by poltergeists year-round? Pemberville’s Holcomb Woods is one of these spooky sites, hence my midnight odyssey to the out-of-the-way grove of trees.

As I crossed the threshold into the haunted hollow, I decided to see how deep the woods ran, just in case I needed to suddenly flee screaming into the barren fields that surrounded the grove. To call this place a wood is a bit optimistic, it turns out, as it’s less than a half-mile long, with a housing compound at the far end.

But as much as I wanted a warm bed, I turned around and sought out the spot where the most sightings had occurred: a small clearing just off the road.

According to local lore, the clearing was made by a maniacal bus driver years ago when he plunged a bus full of Catholic schoolchildren into the woods. Everyone was supposedly incinerated when the bus burst into flames after striking a particularly thick tree.

Believers in the legend claim they can make out the driver’s face in the bark. Others say that if you pull over in the clearing and turn off your car and headlights, you’ll see a ghostly headlight rapidly approaching your vehicle from deep within the woods.

“I’ve heard rumors from a number of people about the bus crash,” said Pemberville police officer Jeff Molnar. “Like everyone else around here, I have no idea if it’s true or not.”

An officer from the sheriff’s office was also unable to verify whether there actually was a fatal bus accident on Holcomb Road years ago. They didn’t begin keeping those records until 1999, she explained.

As for me, I highly doubted the legitimacy of the entire thing. I clung desperately to my disbelief in ghosts in the days prior to my trip to Holcomb. Even so, it took me several minutes to seize the courage necessary to kill the lights once I found the right spot.

As soon as my eyes adjusted enough to discern black from pitch black, I began to mentally run through every horror film I’d ever seen, with me as each victim. For reasons inexplicable, I was particularly anxious about the villainess from “Darkness Falls” showing up and ripping my face off.

After 15 minutes of my pulse steadily increasing, I worked up the mettle to leave my friend’s car.

Three minutes later I was hurtling back towards Bowling Green at 65 miles per hour. While I hadn’t “seen the light,” as it were, I had become sufficiently terrified. Nothing legitimately supernatural had happened, but I had been absolutely overwhelmed by the feeling that someone was watching me.

The problem with claiming something is haunted is that it’s impossible to prove. Take the Joe E. Brown and Eva Saint Marie theaters for example. For years, rumors of a ghost named Alice have surrounded University Hall’s two theaters.

Alice’s legend is shaky, though, with much speculation as to whether she was a cheerleader living in the Eva Saint Marie Theater at the time of her death, or an out-of-town actress on her way to an audition. Either way, both stories have Alice being obliterated by a train.

Alice’s spectral spirit has a reputation among University actors and actresses as being a mischievous diva still very much in love with theater. She is said to wreak havoc on opening-night performances if she isn’t cordially invited (in writing) by the stage manager. Alice is also reserved her own seat at each production.

Senior and Theta Alpha Phi member Gabriel Seibert was one of very few willing to talk about Alice.

“Others probably don’t want to talk about her because it’ll piss her off,” he said. “But I think she’s just a convenient thing to blame when something goes wrong on opening night.”

Seibert claimed Alice is only a concern on opening night, and that she is largely ignored unless a clueless freshman grows curious about her legend.

“We only talk about her once in a while. It’s like, ‘Ooh, Alice!'” he joked. “But then we go, ‘What were we talking about?'”

As Alice has become sort of a joke to theater students, I thought someone was joking with me when I located another site of alleged supernatural happenings: the Potter House.

Just minutes West of town, at the intersection of Potter Road and Route 6, I found the infamous building burned to the ground. Bricks and cinder blocks were all that remained of the house, where (legend has it) a man brutally murdered his family and himself years ago.

The ruins of the Potter House had apparently become a stomping ground of sorts for local hoodlums, judging by the crude messages spray-painted nearby.

During the hour I spent meandering around the crumbled building, I saw nothing out of the ordinary. Nor did I hear, smell, or sense anything amiss.

Ghosts and spirits have always been a topic of debate, probably because no one side has been able to genuinely prove their argument. Did the Potter House burn at the hands of local troublemakers or at the whim of a vicious phantom? Can opening-night mishaps be blamed on an incorporeal cheerleader or an unrehearsed cast? Did I freak out in the woods because a malicious ghost was haunting my every step, or because I’m a huge wuss?

Perhaps they all simply got on the wrong side of Halloween.

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